Saturday, April 27, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Liberty-Minded Filmmaker Premieres 'The Project' at Tribeca Film Festival
The Moving Pictures Institute, which promotes freedom through film, recently announced that one of its films is premiering at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival this weekend. The film has been praised by Indiewire and The Hollywood Reporter. From MPI:
The Project is a gripping feature-length documentary co-directed by MPI fellow Adam Ciralsky. A former CIA attorney turned journalist, Ciralsky has won numerous awards for his work, including three Emmys, a Peabody Award for Significant and Meritorious Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable, a Polk Award for Outstanding Television Reporting, and a Barone Award for Excellence in National Affairs/Public Policy Journalism.
The Project tells the breathtaking and action-packed story of a private militia formed to fight Somali pirates who prey on some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Since the mid-2000s, heavily armed pirates have hijacked hundreds of vessels and taken thousands of hostages for ransom. The humanitarian cost of piracy is huge, as is the economic cost; one think tank estimates that maritime piracy costs the global economy between $7 and $12 billion each year.
With Somalia in a state of lawless anarchy after two decades of civil war, and the UN powerless to restore law and order, private mercenaries formed the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) to fight piracy and establish stability in the area. Part documentary and part thriller, The Project takes an up-close look at the undertakings of the PMPF, exploring its intense, precarious pursuit of Somali pirates — who in turn try to infiltrate and destroy the militia that stalks them. The result is a mesmerizing narrative that delves deep into the political, cultural, and economic complexities of international peacekeeping missions.
With all the recent talk about conservative filmmaking, I thought it would be nice to highlight a successful effort. Watch the trailer:
Monday, April 22, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Manchester, UK Police Declare Violence Against “Goths, Emos, Punks, and Metallers” to be Hate Crimes | MetalSucks:
Reports The Guardian: following a “campaign by [the] Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity set up in memory of a 20-year-old who was fatally attacked in a park near Manchester in 2007,” police in Manchester will now consider violence against ”goths, emos, punks and metallers” to be hate crimes. This will “enable officers to give more support to victims of anti-punk or anti-Goth crime.” But it won’t mean much in the way of punishment for those convicted of such acts, because “Although British judicial guidelines call for people convicted of hate crimes to receive tougher sentences, the Manchester decision has not been recognised nationally.” In other words, this is basically a politically-motivated PR decision.
That being said, at least according to the finest and most accurate source of knowledge in the history of the world, a hate crime is defined as “when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group.” And goths, emos, punks and metallers certainly are their own social groups to varying degrees (depending on who you’re speaking to — I have plenty of friends who aren’t into metal, but I bet that kid in the photo up top does not have a lot of friends who don’t also dress like The Crow).
Still, I have some random observations to make about this new designation:
- Why stop at goths, emos, punks and metallers? Isn’t someone just as likely to get the shit kicked out of them walking around dressed like this? Where is the extra support for country music fans???
- Is anyone else alarmed that The Sophie Lancaster Foundation’s celebrity endorsers include Courtney Love and Gary Numan?
- On behalf on metallers everywhere, mightn’t it be possible NOT to lump us in with goth and emos (punks don’t really bother me, so long as they don’t consider Blink-182 to be punk)?
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
April Fools' Day? You guessed it, yet another pagan holiday
April Fools' Day, sometimes called All Fools' Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its origins are uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.
New Year's Day Moves
Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year's Day on or around April 1. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st.) In medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar called for New Year's Day to be celebrated Jan. 1. That year, France adopted the reformed calendar and shifted New Year's day to Jan. 1. According to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on "fool's errands" or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe.
Problems With This Explanation
There are at least two difficulties with this explanation. The first is that it doesn't fully account for the spread of April Fools' Day to other European countries. The Gregorian calendar was not adopted by England until 1752, for example, but April Fools' Day was already well established there by that point. The second is that we have no direct historical evidence for this explanation, only conjecture, and that conjecture appears to have been made more recently.
Constantine and Kugel
Another explanation of the origins of April Fools' Day was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.
"In a way," explained Prof. Boskin, "it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor."
This explanation was brought to the public's attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they'd been victims of an April Fools' joke themselves.
It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there's something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.
Observances Around the World
April Fools' Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist, playing pranks, and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.
The French call April 1,
Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is discovered.
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